Editor's note: This is the third of an occasional mailbag on the Red Sox. Click here to ask Curt a question for his next mailbag.
Q: What are your thoughts about what the Red Sox should do at the trade deadline? I dont think they need to go out and make a big move, I believe they have a solid team and once they get healthy, they will make a serious run ... just looking for your opinion on the matter. -- Jimmy (Peabody, Mass.)
A: I agree. Theo will be active, you can bet on that, but they just got a No. 1 back in the rotation, they'll be getting an MVP (Dustin Pedroia) back soon, and then add a 70 steal top of the order gold glove defender (Jacoby Ellsbury)? If a team traded for those pieces they'd be handed the "favorite to win it all" label.
Q: Hey Curt, with the midpoint of the season here I wanted to get your midseason report on the Sox. MVP? Biggest surprise? Biggest disappointment? Biggest need for the second half? -- Rick (Portland, Maine)
A: Beltre for MVP and Beltre for the biggest surprise, as well. I thought he'd hit better but not this much better. The biggest disappointment has been the team's health. Teams I played on that had this happen all fell flat at some point and Tito has managed to keep them afloat as they start to get the players back. The biggest need is to get that bullpen stable beyond Papelbon and Bard and to not have any significant injuries.
Q: With all the injuries, do you think the Sox can recover and make the playoffs? -- Ben Adams (Upton, Mass.)
A: Can they? Yes. Will they? I think it's going to be real hard to do, especially since I think Tampa will make a move or two as well as the Yankees.
Q: Just finished Shonda's book. Great read - very enlightening. Every parent should read it. Question: Did you have a favorite catcher and did having Tek behind the plate make you a better pitcher?? Miss you on the mound! -- Dave Salvione (Portland, Ore.)
A: My all-time favorite catcher to work with was Tek [Jason Varitek]. My favorite catcher off the field was a tie between Damian Miller and Doug Mirabelli, two of the funniest guys I ever played with.
Q: With Big Papi showing the power again, albeit without the batting average, do you think that the Red Sox might consider bringing him back for 2011? -- Dan (N. Reading, Mass.)
A: Honestly I have no idea. I know he's asking for a new deal with more years, but at best I think they pick up the option, and honestly it wouldn't surprise me if they did not. Knowing Theo, I think he'd like to have a DH that he can use in the field if he can find one.
Q: Hi Curt -- I know you were on the 2006 team that had a lot of injuries. What kind of impact can that have on a clubhouse? How hard is it just "play through it" when so many guys are getting hurt? -- PeteT (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.)
A: It honestly comes back to the manager and the internal and external messaging. You take your cues from that guy. Tito has been awesome at doing that on the field and in the clubhouse.
Q: Hey Curt, of all the injured players, which one is the most important to the Sox chances of making the playoffs? -- JoeLK (South Hadley, Mass.)
A: Pedroia, no question.
Q: Curt, how culpable is John Farrell for the pitching performances we've seen from the Sox this year? I don't think I've ever heard a negative thing about him (only praise), yet the 2010 bullpen is worst in the league and the starting staff has been inconsistent. -- Spaulding Smails (Bushwood, Md.)
A: John would tell you it's 90 percent his fault. I would tell you it's zero percent. He doesn't throw the ball, and he's as good a teacher, mentor as anyone I ever played for. He is a very positive and encouraging guy who arms you with the mental tools to get people out. Ultimately, it falls on the athlete to perform and these guys are just not doing it consistently. For what it's worth show me any bullpen with good arms that has more than two good years in a row -- it doesn't happen and it's the reason Theo mixes and matches bullpen arms so much. They trend radically different than starters.
Curt Schilling, who pitched for the Red Sox from 2004-08, is a three-time World Series champion, six-time MLB All-Star and founded 38 Studios. Curt and his wife, Shonda, have raised money to fight ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) through Curt's Pitch for ALS, and have encouraged awareness for sun protection through the SHADE Foundation. They recently announced their support for the Asperger's Association of New England after their third child was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.